State govt ignores nutrition app for TB patients

State govt ignores nutrition app for TB patients

New intiative: District In-charge Minister U T Khader launches the 11-day TB active case finding and treatment campaign in Mangaluru on Wednesday. dh photo

An order from the central TB (tuberculosis) division (CTD) of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, on using an unique mobile application for patients suffering from TB has been ignored by the state department of health and family welfare.

The department, which launched the 11-day TB active cases finding and treatment campaign across the state on Wednesday, is facing flak for not implementing the order issued on October 31, 2018, and not disseminating information about this unique app, N-TB, among district TB officers.

In Ballari, which witnessed the highest number of fresh TB cases, the incharge TB officer said he had not received any information about installing the app on android phones and using it to counsel TB patients. Koppal district TB officer Dr Jambayya was keen on knowing whether the N-TB app was a private initiative or had the backing of the government.

The app was developed by CTD and the Centre for Nutrition Studies, Yenepoya (deemed to be university) in order to provide nutritional information to patients with TB.

N-TB, after seeking specific details gives information about what diet the person should take, based on the BMI (body mass index), explain Dr Anurag Bhargava and Dr Madhavi Bhargava of the Centre for Nutrition Studies.

Dakshina Kannada district TB officer Dr Badrudden M N said many TB patients between the age of 15 and 45 years were from economically poor families. As TB affects the income of the family, the ministry had announced financial incentive to encourage TB patients complete the full course of treatment. “A total of 994 TB patients in the district are receiving an incentive of Rs 500 from April 2018,” he said.

Doctors who notify TB patients for treatment also get an incentive of Rs 1,000 per month. The N-TB app helps patients to choose the food items as per their BMI in order to improve BMI during treatment. The app also sensitises TB care providers about the importance of nutrition.